Franchise to sell North Korean food

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Franchise to sell North Korean food


Nolboo CEO Ahn Sei-jin, right, and Wolhyang CEO Lee Yo-yong discuss the launch of their North Korean style franchise restaurant, Bukhyang, at a press event in Myeongdong, central Seoul. [YONHAP]

A North Korean homestyle cooking franchise is being established by Taste of Seoul, a joint venture between Nolboo and the trendy Wolhyang bistro.

The first Bukhyang restaurant is scheduled to open in November in Songdo, Incheon, the company announced Thursday at a press event.

The unlikely partnership between longtime franchise establishment Nolboo, known for its bossam (boiled pork) dishes, and Wolhyang, a leader of the recent makgeolli (rice wine) drinking scene, will serve North Korean food to suit local residents.

“North Korean cuisine brings out the flavors of ingredients well,” said Ahn Sei-jin, CEO of Nolboo.

During the event held at the Myeongdong branch of Wolhyang, the new restaurant brand showcased North Korean homestyle dishes, such as tofu rice, North Korean-style steamed pork and warm noodles.

Amid recent criticism of the unfair practices of some franchise businesses, Taste of Seoul is structuring the new restaurant so that franchisees are not unduly burdened. Nolboo CEO said Bukhyang will not take profits from the restaurants through supply agreements or advertising arrangements. It will instead charge royalty fees.

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